University of Nairobi to set up a $1M fund for startups

University of Nairobi, Kenya’s largest and best public university by population and ranking is setting up a $1m fund for business startups for its alumni, as the country’s oldest institution looks for ways to create jobs for its graduates not to make them job seekers.

Speaking during the Nairobi Innoation Week 2017 Breakfast , Prof. Peter M.F. Mbithi, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nairobi said, “University of Nairobi received Ksh. 100M to support business startups. We have started the start-up movement with other partners. We focus on innovations that are human-centered. Our focus is solving problems. University of Nairobi funds all business ideas, especially Innovations. ”

According to the VC, everyone gets funded, whether in a team or as a sole proprietor. The university is following in the steps of Safaricom which launched Spark Fund and has invested in a number of local startups some in education, research and logistics.

The VC also asked the crowd how the university could develop disruptive innovations just weeks before its 3rd Nairobi Innovation Week set to be held in the first week of March 2017.

Themed Innovating to solve pressing local and global challenges, the VC said the Nairobi Innovation Week 2017’s theme demonstrates the university’s readiness to innovate beyond borders and shows that it recognizes that local challenges are interlinked with global challenges.

The Nairobi Innovation Week 2017 invites musicians, bands and artists to participate as they belong in the creative class.

”We began these efforts of promoting Innovation & Enterprise Development in 2015. We are committed to this initiative. Thanks to partners present at  the Nairobi Innovation Week breakfast for expressing interest in partnering with the University of Nairobi to build the Innovation Ecosystem,” the VC said. “SMEs provide employment opportunities to Kenyans.  University of Nairobi is making Innovation Ecosystem a reality in Kenya.”

UoN, as its fondly called is not new to startups and entrepreneurship, its innovation hub C4DLab recently held a graduation for its eight startups which had been incubated for four months. The startups included M-Kulima, an IoT app to increase farmers efficiency; Learnmine, a marketplace for tutors and learners; CipherTech, a home security system for the middle income earners; Silicon Savanah, an anti-fraud security system for the insurance firm and  individuals; Proolabs,a fraud investigations firm;  Elimu Advisor, a student revision edtech startup; Vospine, an interest-based social network and REQUEST, a music request and monitoring platform.

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